The government is preparing to extend the eviction ban on commercial properties until the end of the year, reports the Financial Times.
Officials are looking at how to extend the ban from its current cut-off date of September 30th. The move comes as the Government faces increasing pressure to help businesses who are still struggling with the effects of COVID-19.
The announcement could be coming as early as this week, according to one official.
Leading figures in hospitality and retail warn that retailers and restaurants could be at risk of closure come the end of September with the clashing of the eviction and the next quarter’s rent bill.
UKHospitality has warned that a failure to act urgently to rent crisis will result in a ‘bloodbath’, with hospitality businesses failing and subsequent job losses.
Over the past weekend, leading restaurant groups including Burger King and Itsu wrote to Boris Johnson wrote to Boris Johnson to ask him for a targeted extension of the eviction ban, citing a ‘critical risk’ for restaurants from October 1st.
Retailers such as New Look have also called on landlords for rent reductions, with some forcing cuts through company voluntary arrangements.
Landlords say that eviction bans risk hurting property investors and that it’s being abused by tenants who are able to pay their rent.
Tenants are expected to pay the rent which has accrued over the moratorium period, which is part of the reason why landlords are arguing against a further extension. UKHospitality estimate that this figure is sitting at £760m across the hospitality industry, and is expected to increase to £1.06bn by the next rent payment on September 29th.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said that the focus should be on helping businesses to manage rental debt with grant support, which has been supported by various industry trade bodies.